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This is a question Brain Fade

Freddie Woo tells us how he recently spent ages trying to open his front door with his Oyster Card before realising he actually needed things called "keys". Tell us of times you've done stupid things while on auto-pilot

(, Thu 21 Mar 2013, 12:20)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Fucking students
A student I was, at a rather fancy university to boot, and as such I had a bike, just like all the other spotty little future prime ministers. I was rather pleased with my choice of mount. It cost me a pittance and was so shit and so blatantly trumpeted its shitness to all who beheld it that I believed it to be un-nickable, which is the vital quality a student bike needs. Who but me would be seen dead riding such a thing? Certainly none of these fuckers with their ambitions to high office. It might have been a racer once but someone had cackhandedly daubed the frame all over with blue house-paint and fitted a set of handlebars that made it look like a girl's bike. Despite its place near the bottom of any bike-rustlers hitlist I religiously secured it with a combination lock that having set me back £11.99 was worth more than my valiant steed.

After a term of chilly rides to lectures on which the bike and I came to understand each others' foibles (squeaky ineffectual brakes, wobbly hungover ineptitude) there came a January morning when the damn bastard lock would not open. I struggled to maintain my laid-back demeanour, hard won though eight weeks' careful shrugging and moping. Stupid cock fuck arse bastard thing didn't it realise I was late already? I knew the code with the intimate familiarity that comes of long use. I could even hum it, it had a tune - three-six-NINE-seven. But my self-belief was severely shaken by the reality of the cold metal in my hands. My numb fingers fumbled for agonizing minutes with its fiddly, unforgiving wheels, trying variations on the theme... four-six-nine-eight?... Utterly useless of course because I KNEW perfectly well what the code was. Four digits of inscrutable cold steel stood between me and mobility.

At that point I did what any student would do. Murmured "fuck it" and wandered off to be late for lectures. For several days afterwards a tense stand-off existed between me and that lock... often as I walked past it I would have an urge to try one last time but I was damned if I would sacrifice my studied nonchalance to fumble again with that self-satisfied assemblage of cogs. Time passed and I adjusted to life on foot: getting up a few minutes earlier, shambling in a few minutes more sullenly late.

Spring came and the birds began to sing in the trees above the bikeshed, drowned out of course by the daily tides of students braying about Proust and Special Relativity and generally trying to sound clever. With a pang of guilt and nostalgia I noticed my neglected bike languishing beneath a pile of similarly rusting wrecks whose owners were clearly as uncaring and/or hopeless as I was. I wrestled it upright and had one last go at the lock that had so long defeated me. Choosing numbers at random I tugged gently and... there was an uncanny lack of resistance. I recoiled in shock. Each hand held one half of the lock and for several seconds they retained the sickening sensation of unexpected pliance, a bit like reaching down for a bit of self love only for the old fella to come off in your hand. Or something.

Slowly I tried to piece together what had happened. How had my subconscious guided me to the right code out of the 10000 possibilities? Was it a good day to do the lottery? On reflection it seemed more likely that I had been a tit and changed the code last autumn whilst simultaneously blanking out all recollection of the event. We'd had a lot of lectures on computer security around that time and I must have felt compelled to change my "password" for something more secure. Try as I might I could not coax from my brain any hint of a memory... it was as if my having coughed up the code it was too embarrassed to provide further details of its own fallibility.

That night with the wind in my ears I sailed across town to a house-party, bikeborn once again. None of my mates seemed to have turned up but I settled down to some purposeful substance consumption and at one point I believe I may even have talked to a girl. Much later in the wee small hours I meandered happily home again on foot, the substances of course helping me to forget that I was once again the owner of a functioning bike.

Morning came and with it the unwelcome task of hauling myself to lectures. To my credit I spent less than half an hour prodding listlessly amongst the racks of bikes before I recalled that I had walked home the previous night. "Ah well," I laughed lightly to myself, "I'll just have to pop back and get it when I have a spare hour some time." Two weekends later I set off on my rescue mission... with a growing realisation that my memories of the party were really rather vague. Could I recall its location? Could I tits. Could I remember the names of anyone I had met there? Well no, not now you come to mention it.

So long, soldier.

TLDR: Idiot is idiot and finds a needlessly complicated way to lose a valued possession
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 20:37, 2 replies)
I sold my very old Toyota and bought a newer second hand Mercedes-Benz
Toyota ignition key goes on the right side of the steering column

M-B ignition key goes in the dashboard, left of the wheel.

Ten years later I was poking the key at the steering column sometimes.

But I've only gone for the non-existent clutch once.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 20:33, 1 reply)
Guns In American College Dormitories
I was surprised when I entered college in the American West just how many guns and bomb-making materials were in people's possession (illustrated last week by the news out of Florida).

For example, in my dormitory, my shady next-door neighbor, originally from Klan country (Tallahassee, Florida), made a show of electrically-grounding himself before entering his room every night, in order not to detonate a supposed cache of explosives. Lying in bed every night, I used to eye the cinder block wall standing between us, and wonder if it was all a bluff. The lurking presence of these implements of destruction were no secret, either, at least to the students. Anyone might have them, and college administration didn't seem to care.

Another fellow across the hall once invited us in to admire his gun. He was rumored to be sloppy with his firearms maintenance - firing supposedly-empty guns during cleaning, for example. Nevertheless, there we were, looking at, and handling, his gun.

He handed his supposedly-empty gun to me. I thoughtlessly turned, pointed the gun towards my roommate's abdomen, and playfully pulled the trigger. Happily, the gun really was unloaded. My roommate was understandably annoyed, however, and I was embarrassed.

None of these gun stories ever seem to end well. A year later, the fellow across the hall was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with crippling brain injuries. The year after that, he resumed his education, but his speech was slurred and his movements halting.

One day, fellow across the hall was showing off his gun to another student when the student took advantage of his disabilities, locked him in his own bathroom, and stole the gun. Then the student took the gun, went to another dormitory room, and killed another student with whom he had been feuding.

The movies never show this aspect of American West history, but one reason the Wild West is no longer Wild is because arms control was zealously practiced by western sheriffs, until it became second-nature. Since the end of the 19th-Century, that zeal has lapsed.

Yep, it's a free-for-all when it comes to weapons on American college campuses.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 19:46, 19 replies)
At work yesterday...
... I stood in front of the fridge in the kitchen for about 30 seconds trying to plip it with my van keys.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 18:32, 2 replies)
This year, I finally got off my arse to go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights (which was the best thing I have ever, ever, ever done in the history of ever).

While there, with a bunch of mates, we also went exploring. One of the highlights was a huge set of river rapids, half of which had frozen solid.

My friend, who we shall call Bender, for her preference for boozin' rather than the same sexin', spoke thus:

"Oh, what's that thing we're going to see.... I've forgotten the word.... it's... falling water?"

"You mean a waterfall?"


(Oh, and the lights? OH MY GOD THE SKY IS ON FIRE! Best. Thing. Ever. Lucky doesn't cover it, managed to be there during a solar story and saw the FUCK out of the Aurora. And, yes, I did the Freddy Mercury. Because balls to all those beautiful, respectful photos of nature's greatest wonder. Someone's gotta show it who's boss!)

(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 17:38, 8 replies)
The Dim Emergency Pub Plumbers
I worked in a north London public house for several years. I hated working on the bar, because I hate people. I slowly usurped as many back of house jobs as possible, including ‘cellar management’. This involved using line cleaner and a broom to scrub the cellar, before cleaning the beer lines once the pub shut.

One night I was scrubbing the cellar when I heard a cracking noise. I looked over to see a dribble of piss running down the wall from a cracked soil pipe connected to the urinals above, and leading into the main soil pipe. A straight rod was sticking through the crack, which quickly disappeared. This piqued my interest, so I went up to the pub to see two plumbers faffing about by the gents. I asked if they had anything to do with the cracked pipe. They initially denied it, but came down to the cellar to have a look. After complaining of the caustic atmosphere and laughing at the puddle of piss around the bottles of blue WKD they admitted their mistake. This they compounded when one of them decided to ‘get at the blockage from down here’. They got their rods out and jammed them into the crack, making it larger for extra manoeuvrability. After some to-ing and fro-ing they cleared the blockage.

How is this a “Brain Fade”? Well, they cleared the blockage and in the process sprayed themselves with an ochre coloured liquid reminiscent of diarrhoea. The surprise and disgust upon their faces was something that one would expect to see only on a spoilt toddler not getting the expensive and gaudy Christmas presents it was demanding.

TL:DR – Two plumbers rammed their rods into a crack in a blocked soil pipe from below and got covered in turd-like water, the consistency of low quality gravy.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 16:48, Reply)
Opening door with Oyster card
I did that at University once.

It worked and I managed to get into places I should never have been able to get into...
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 15:49, 1 reply)
Sink piss
coming off a night shift in a factory i went for a piss before clocking off. As i stood at the large metal trough i thought to myself "its kind of odd that there's a soap dispenser in the middle of the urinal. And why is there a mirror above the urinal, that's pretty unusual too". As i looked in said mirror i saw an identical metal trough behind me with no soap dispenser and no mirror above it.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 15:27, 2 replies)
My brother has just called me with an example - perhaps not brain fade but pretty damn stupid all the same
He's been called in to replace a wetroom that he fitted about 9 months ago. It was a very expensive job, all polished marble - floors, walls, the lot.
He's been called back because the people in the flat below were complaining about water leaks from the wetroom above. On inspection, the the wetroom was leaking - like the proverbial sieve. The polished marble was now matte, pitted all over and actually holed in places!
The (very wealthy but excruciatingly dim) owner had been cleaning the marble with an acidic cleaning product with the warning 'NOT FOR USE ON NATURAL STONE' in big letters all over the bottles.
She told him she didn't know marble was stone.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 15:07, 3 replies)
Just had a brain fade moment in a meeting...
...and made a joke in front of a load of people who I knew wouldn't find it funny. I'd vowed as soon as I thought of it not to say anything, but I got distracted and let it out.

There's a chap coming in from one of our suppliers to do some training in a couple of weeks. His name is Amran.

"That'll be exciting won't it?" I said "I've never met a talking lion before!"

My manager had to stifle a laugh, but the rest of the room? Stony-faced... I'm not sure if they didn't get it or just thought it was crap, but not even a flicker of a smile.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 14:23, 8 replies)
You Theif!!!
I remember a time when I was accusing my mate of pinching my most favored lighter. I was having a go at him for ages, saying how I couldn't believe he was lying to me about it.

I was furiously pointing at him, and then it dawned on me. The lighter was in my hand all along. Needless to say, I think it may have been the thing that we were using the lighter for that was making me so forgetful.

Also, the amount of times I have found milk in the cupboard and cereal in the fridge is just getting silly now.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 13:49, Reply)
Is it on???
Back when I was about 19 I have a few speakers I was putting together into a large mono bass cab, which was connected to my stereo under the carpet to I could listen to music in the shower whenever I wanted.

So I was cutting holes in wood, and soldering the speaker wire in place - then got sidetracked (probably lunch) and went downstairs. Then out for a few hours.

When I came back, I noticed that the soldering iron was still plugged in. So I tested how hot it was. With my big toe. There was an almightily "BAKK" noise, the soldering iron broke, and my toe eventually swelled up to almost twice it's normal size, because yes, the soldering iron had been on for hours and hours.

I also stepped on one of the 8 inch speakers too, completely destroying it.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 13:23, Reply)
Autopilot indeed
You know you are so severely institutionalised in a research facility when you become so accustomed to scanning in your swipe card on the door plate reader to go everywhere in the damn building that you simply don't even recall doing it most of the time. That day however, when you realise you just attempted to get the goddamn toilet to flush by waving your swipe card at it is not a proud moment.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 13:13, Reply)
for those who aren't northern, a ginnel is a passageway betwen two buildings.
as I leave my house out the back door you then go through a ginnel to the main road. Every time I do this when it's raining my in head dialogue as I'm locking the back door goes:

Ah crap, it's raining (i then step in to the ginnel)
Oh good, the rains stopped (i then realise i'm in a ginnel)
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 13:09, 16 replies)
Power cut
Me and Mrs duck were scrabbling around trying to get some light I had managed to find a candle but couldn't find a lighter. Then I had a good idea and started scrunching up a torn bit of newspaper

"what are you going to go with that?" asked Mrs Duck
"I'm gonna light this in the toaster" said I
"you really are a prick aren't you?" said my beloved
"ahhhhh yes I see"
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 12:49, 1 reply)
I work night shifts
and a friend at work had got me one of those black night masks (those velvety blindfold things) to help me sleep during the day.

I took the night mask out of its packet and thought 'Cool! I wonder what I look like while wearing them...' - so I went and stood in front of the bathroom mirror. And put them on.

(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 12:41, Reply)
Cashpoint fail
Failed to get any money out of the bank by putting the code for the photocopier at work in instead of pin number
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 11:53, 3 replies)
50 Hurtz

When I were a lad, I was into model railways. My layout took over the whole room, to the point where I actually slept underneath it. One day I'd been wiring up a whole new section, and as I got ready for bed I was looking at the half-finished job, and wondering if I'd remembered to turn off the mains electricity when I'd stopped for the day.

So to check, I simply reached out and touched the bare terminals in the junction box. It turns out that I hadn't.

250 Volts, 50 Hertz: oh yes, they really do.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 11:43, 4 replies)
I went to use the toilet for a number 2
pre-flow, todger-in-hand, I looked down to check my aim. I was stood over the bin in my kitchen. Ran to the toilet to find that I'd put some rubbish in there.

EDIT - Got me numbers mixed up! I were doin' a number 1 in the bin. That'll learn me for trying to be polite rather than just say piss...
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 11:31, 12 replies)
I'm sure I'm not alone in this...

Being a casual artist, I would sketch then paint the occasional bit of tat. No Monet, but I was self-taught, and the point was that it was fun. I'd made myself learn because I was going through a phase of "Anyone can learn anything!" and had never been able to draw.

It was about at this time that photoshop dickery began to take off. "That," said I, "Is another thing I can't do, but something I'd like to know how to do!" So I spent the next few months getting to grips with image editing software, completely neglecting my paper and pencil and paint.

When I realised I hadn't drawn anything in a while, I sketched, and at the first mistake I made, my left hand instinctively jumped to the bottom-left corner of the page, little finger and middle finger.

Sketch pads do not come with Ctrl-Z. Duuh.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 10:25, Reply)
I was just cutting and pasting dates of birth and postcodes - but getting nowhere.

Then I remembered I was trying to get into a Hotmail account, not a Gmail!

(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 10:16, 2 replies)

(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 9:55, 2 replies)
I'm sure there's more. But here's one -
I used to work for a catering company in the kitchen in Perth's premier entertainment venue as cooks to the talent and their entourages. This was amongst one of my escapades.
Numerous nights driving home in the early hours thru the normally (by day) very busy city streets.

One night after work and a couple of "staffies" (drinks after work - usually put on by the bar manager) and our usual post work feed I've jumped in my Ford Escort Ghia and headed home on Wellington St. When a cop car pulls up alongside me.
I do register them and I'm not worried - a couple of mid-strength and a big feed after work - I wouldn't drive anyway if I was over the limit but I know I'm not.
Beyond that my brain is completely on "Get from Work to Home" autopilot. At the end of the journey is a soft bed and a warm missus.

At the top of Wellington St. having driven thru 11 sets of traffic lights before I turn off to go on the freeway I pull up alongside the cops again. They're both looking at me smiling and shaking their heads. I wind down my window and ask them -
"Did I stop at any of those red lights?"
"Nope you went thru 3, we were betting on each one after the 1st. Got a long way home?" they asked.
"Nah." I told them my suburb, which was one freeway exit away.
"We'll follow you home." they said. And off we went.

Eleven traffic lights. During most daylight hours it might take you 10 min. It took me about 2. I cannot remember going thu any of them.

I did this job for over a year. Working at least twice a week.
That's at least 1100 red lights run.
Often without me realising.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 9:42, 1 reply)
When the PS1 came out
I spent an awful lot of time taking acid and playing Doom.

I nearly pissed my pants once when I got up to go to the toilet and couldn't get into the bathroom.

The door was closed see, but I just couldn't find the square button.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 9:29, 6 replies)
Fun with Alzheimer's
As she shot triumphantly through her late nineties, my grandmother started having increasing memory problems. One day she said to me "I don't remember things very well any more. Mind you, it means I get a lot of nice surprises."

The old girl made it to 101, classy to the end.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 9:15, 3 replies)
Open Sesame
I have been known to play the odd game of squash so, against my better judgement, have been to local leisure centres on occasions.

I'd been to the one near Guildford a few times and had paid my cash and was heading to the changing rooms. Turned the corner and the automatic doors half way down the corridor weren't working. It must be the sensor thought I so walked around in front of it a bit. Then waved at it. then waved frantically. A five a side footballer came up behind me and I intercepted him to explain that the door wasn't working and demonstrated by waving and trying to engage him in an out-of-character, "hey mate isn't it awful, what we going to do?" kind of conversation.

He didn't say a word, pushed the never-been-automated swing door open then held it open for the rest of his team who dutifully filed through in front of me pissing themselves laughing.

I then had to follow the increasingly creased up team into the changing rooms...
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 8:17, 3 replies)
Shortly after leaving home, age 17.
Scene 1:
Most of the day spent lolling about in front of an uninspected gas fire in my unhygienic, government-sponsored flat, smoking heroic amounts of sensimilla*.
Scene 2:
Regaining consciousness, lying face down in the unheated hallway. Arms by my side, wondering why I was banging my face repeatedly into the roughly-carpeted floor. The more agitated I became about my preposterous behaviour, the harder I slammed my face into the floor. A couple of minutes and one very broken nose later, I properly woke up and decided it was time to stop injuring myself.
I think this might have been my first, and hopefully last, fit. I wouldn't recommend it.

*yes - I'm that old
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 0:39, Reply)
I went on holiday once..
...and the taxi driver commented that there was a strong smell of fish in the back of his cab.

"I was too polite to mention it!", I replied brightly.
"Well it doesn't normally smell of fish in here".
"Well I'm pretty sure its not me! I have many faults, but being a fish is absolutely not one of them, and neither is my wife".
"You've got a carrier bag of fish bones next to you".

I had. I had taken a carrier bag of fish bones into the taxi, and popped my wife's hand luggage into the wheelie bin before we left.

She roared with laughter. "Never a dull moment with you!", she smiled, eyes shining as she ruffled my hair. "I'm so glad I married you". This last bit isn't true.
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 0:27, 8 replies)
I work in a callcenter
and rang a customer back, reached their answerphone - and instinctively left a voicemail beginning
"Hello, you're through to Dave. How can I help you?"
(, Fri 22 Mar 2013, 0:21, Reply)

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